Compulsory Purchase Orders – fairness matters

4th September 2015 10:05 am Comments Off on Compulsory Purchase Orders – fairness matters

With the future looking brighter in the construction industry, new developments are springing up across our towns and cities. The government has pledged to build more than 200,000 homes and the planning laws have been relaxed to speed up the process

So, if a Local Authority or other body is set on building new homes or other developments and needs to purchase land and buildings to implement their plans, then it can become necessary to make use of Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) to purchase houses, land, buildings and business premises to make way for the new scheme.

Basically, a CPO is a legal measure that allows certain bodies which need to obtain land or property to do so without the consent of the owner. Whilst the use of CPOs is often viewed as a drastic measure that gives rise to a variety of concerns in any community affected by a new planning scheme, the good news is that the right to use CPOs is highly regulated and they are used comparatively rarely.

The steps involved

There are a number of steps in the planning process and at all times the public is entitled to have access to the proposals. The Local Authority must contact the affected owners, advertise the CPO, and give those affected a set period of time in which to lodge objections. If objections are made, then the matter goes to the Secretary of State who appoints an inspector and a Public Inquiry is held. The inspector then makes the recommendation to confirm or reject the CPO based on the evidence heard at the Inquiry.

The next step is for the Secretary of State to confirm the CPO, confirm it subject to amendment or reject it. If it’s confirmed, then the CPO powers will rest with the Local Authority for a period of three years.

Legal challenges

In Grafton Group (UK) Plc & Another versus the Secretary of State for Transport & others (2015), High Court Judge Mr Justice Duncan Ouseley ruled that the decision that led to a CPO being confirmed was unfair to the landowners who were opposed to being forced to sell their site, forcing the Secretary of State to reconsider the plans. So, the principle of fairness has been upheld in determining whether individuals and companies lose their land.

Local issues

With major sites in multiple ownership identified for redevelopment in Maidenhead as part of the Programme for the Regeneration of Maidenhead, compulsory purchase powers may be considered by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead to deliver the balance of a site where land owners are reluctant to sell or participate.

If you are a landowner or occupier affected by a CPO, you should seek legal advice on how to make a valid objection, seek modifications to the proposed order, or generally protect your interests during the process of negotiating a satisfactory outcome or fair financial settlement. Speak to Michael Stone, who is the Managing Partner and head of commercial property at Colemans if you need advice on how to best protect your interests.

Categorised in: Latest news, Residential Property

This post was written by Colemans Solicitors LLP

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